New executive actions target equal pay for women

April 08, 2014 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

President Barack Obama is once again using executive action related to the pay American workers earn. A White House fact sheet says the actions are aimed at fighting pay discrimination and strengthening enforcement of equal pay laws.

In one action, Obama signed a presidential memorandum instructing Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit more data to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The president wants the DOL to collect summary data on compensation paid to employees, including data by sex and race.

The fact sheet says the DOL will use the data “to encourage compliance with equal pay laws and to target enforcement more effectively by focusing efforts where there are discrepancies and reducing burdens on other employers.”

Obama also signed an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their compensation. The fact sheet says the order doesn’t compel workers to discuss their pay and doesn’t require employers to publish or otherwise disseminate pay data. Instead, the White House says the action will “provide a critical tool to encourage pay transparency.”

The latest executive actions follow Obama’s January Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay employees at least $10.10 an hour. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. The $10.10 minimum wage applies only to employees working on new federal contracts. A bill has been introduced in Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 for all workers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), not just federal contractors.

In March, Obama took another executive action when he signed a presidential memorandum directing Perez to begin the process of changing regulations to make more workers eligible for overtime pay. Proposed regulations are expected to cut back on “white-collar” exemptions and make more workers eligible for overtime pay.

April 8 has been dubbed Equal Pay Day to symbolize how long into 2014 women must work to earn as much as men earned in 2013. The Senate is expected to consider the Paycheck Fairness Act on or around April 8. The bill has failed in the past but was introduced in the Senate on April 1.

About Tammy Binford:
Tammy Binford writes and edits news alerts and newsletter articles on labor and employment law topics for BLR web and print publications. In addition, she writes for HR Hero Line and Diversity Insight, two of the ezines and blogs found on HRHero.com.
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2 COMMENTS

1 Frances Ruby
09:50:26, 09/04/14

This posing by Obama strikes me as nothing more than a continuation of campaigning. There are just as many studies showing pay differences result from many factors, i.e., experience, seniority, risk, etc. If it were true women consistently made less than men then as an economic argument businesses should hire only women since it would save more money. Regarding the minimum wage-since union wages are often tied to the minimum wage this is another way to boost support for Democrats with unions at the expense, yet again, of taxpayers who will pay higher prices for union produced goods. The best laugh of all in this article was Obama’s call for increased transparency-this from someone who stonewalls with the best of them!

2 Frances
12:00:48, 09/04/14

I think Obama’s statements are specious and contrary to the facts.

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